ODOT says slight delays possible along Highways 214 and 219 as three traffic lanes are shifted south during continued construction

Motorists passing by the site of the Interstate 5 Interchange Project on Highways 214 and 219 may experience slight delays starting later this month, as traffic is shifted to facilitate continued construction on the $70 million capital project.

“There may be some initial delays, as people kind of say, ‘What’s going on here,’ but I think it’s going to be very minimal,” said Lou Torres, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation. “And once people get used to it, they shouldn’t have any issues.”

The project requires three lanes of traffic to be shifted south to allow for increased construction on the north side of Highway 214. However, Torres said all four lanes will remain open, at least during peak daytime driving hours.

Traffic has already been shifted on Highway 219 west of I-5. When construction on the north side of Highway 214 is finished later this year, traffic will then be shifted north so the contractor, Salem-based K & E Excavating Inc., can work on the south side.

According to ODOT, the roadways will be signed and striped to alert motorists of the changes and aid traffic flow.

In addition to these changes, drivers and area residents will also see new visible signs of construction on the project, as the largest of five sound walls begins to take shape on the north side of Highway 214 between Country Club Road and Broughton Way.

Measuring an estimated 2,200 feet long and standing 10 to 12 feet high, the sound wall was highlighted as a priority by ODOT engineers and was also requested by property owners in the area, Torres said.

“It’s going to help minimize the noise that people along (Highway) 214 are going to hear,” he said.

“We added the sound walls because a lot of homes there are fairly close to the road,” and they’ll be even closer after this project widens the highway by 25 feet to five lanes, plus a turn lane to enter I-5.

The larger sound wall, which K & E will soon begin constructing, had been controversial due to the presence of two large sequoia trees in the area that ODOT had proposed removing. The agency and residents recently reached a compromise that left one of the sequoias standing.

Torres said the construction of the wall has also had to be planned in cooperation with five utilities operating in the area that had to relocate some of their infrastructure.

He described the planned concrete stone wall as “nicer looking,” thanks to the input of a citizens’ committee that weighed in on the aesthetic considerations of the project.

“I know it sounds weird saying an ‘aesthetically pleasing sound wall,’ but it’s going to have some design,” he said. “It’s not going to be as bland-looking as some of the other sound walls you may see, like along the interstate.”

The sound walls and north-side construction mark the bulk of the work planned for the second phase of the three-stage project. Next year, ODOT plans to complete the construction of the sound walls and south-side construction, with final touches — permanent signals, striping and paving — penciled in for 2016, unless they’re finished earlier.

Construction on the project began last summer. Most of the funding is though the Jobs and Transportation Act, a funding plan adopted by the 2009 Oregon Legislature to improve and upgrade the state’s transportation system.

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